In memoriam: Missionary emeritus James Oliver, 1932-2024

James Oliver, 1932-2024
IMB Photo

James “Jim” Oliver, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in the Americas, died Jan. 5, 2024. He was 91.

Jim was born on June 28, 1932, in Daviston, Alabama. He graduated from Lanier High School in Montgomery, Alabama, and received a diploma from Starke Military High School, the Bachelor of Arts from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, the Master of Religious Education from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and the Bachelor of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

Jim married Marilyn J. Oliver on Feb. 28, 1958. Before appointment with the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board), he was a pastor, salesman, assistant engineer and music education director. He served in churches in Alabama, Ohio and Texas.

As a child, he attended a Royal Ambassador’s camp. He wrote, while seeking appointment with the Foreign Mission Board, “During that summer I attended my first Royal Ambassador camp and during the closing service I made a public decision to become a foreign missionary. I had little understanding at that time about this decision but I feel the Lord was in this and has honored this simple commitment.”

In 1966, the Foreign Mission Board appointed Jim and Marilyn missionaries to Colombia. The Olivers served 31 years as missionaries to Colombia before retiring to Georgia.

He is preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Marilyn White Oliver.

He is survived his daughter, Jeannie (Chris) Zokan of Gulf Breeze, Florida; sons, Dan (Michele) Oliver of Stockbridge, Georgia; Dave Oliver (Eduardo) of Atlanta, Georgia; John (Karin) Oliver of Durham, North Carolina; nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Funeral services were Jan. 10 in the Chapel of Parrott Funeral Home in Fairburn, Georgia. He was interred at Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, Georgia.